Published May 01, 2000Running a successful business Hamilton's Canadian indie empire Sonic Unyon Records is only one of the factors that repeatedly delayed the new album from Tristan Psionic, the aptly-titled Mind The Gap, their first in four years. It's partly coincidental, but those four years are fairly significant in Canadian indie rock ? not only does that amount of time produce almost a generation of listeners, but it represents a time when live clubs dried up, groups disbanded, and the climate for underground records soured.
“Whether it was conscious or subconscious, we realised what was going on,” says guitarist and vocalist Sandy McIntosh. “With our last tours it was noticeable that people were having trouble putting on shows. It was good timing for us to take a break. We were tired of playing the same songs and juggling [the record label and the band], and we didn’t have time to write new songs when we were playing. Now, we’re all excited to tour, perhaps as excited as the first time we ever went out.”
One of the reasons for Tristan Psionic’s absence was a vacant bass position, now filled by Rob Higgins, from the last incarnation of Change of Heart. “Once he committed, he picked it up quickly and proficiently and added what he can as a great bass player,” says McIntosh. With Higgins in place, the band had plenty of new material ready, which for the first time features McIntosh on violin and guitarist Mark Milne on Farfisa organ. The final motivating element was Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf, Barry Black), who was releasing his new project Crooked Fingers on Sonic Unyon and was looking for a backing band for a Canadian tour. For perhaps the first time in the label’s history, the modest owners made their own band the number one priority and offered Bachmann their services. “We had been planning to record for forever, and it gave us a good opportunity to set ourselves a schedule,” says McIntosh. Recorded in January, Mind the Gap quickly fell together in time for a co-headlining tour in April and May.
“It goes to show you that if the wheels are smaller, they can turn faster,” acknowledges McIntosh. “Especially if they’re your wheels and not someone else’s.”